Refugee Footballer Freed From Thailand

Tuesday, February 12th, 2019

Refugee footballer Hakeem al-Araibi has been freed from a Thai prison.

The nation has dropped a request for the 25-year-old to be extradited to his native Bahrain, three months after he was taken into custody.

Australia had been lobbying Thailand for al-Araibi’s safe return to Melbourne.

al-Araibi had been jailed over accusations of vandalism in Bahrain though has always maintained his innocence.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has thanked the Australians who fought for Hakeem, recognising “those who’ve provided direct support to him personally, particularly [former Socceroo] Craig Foster who has very much championed his case”.

Mr Morrison says there is still a process to be followed but that the government is very grateful for its relationship with Thailand, which he says has enabled the two countries to work together the way they have.

al-Araibi is due back in Australia Tuesday afternoon.

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